SGAC New Zealand

SGAC is looking for volunteers as New Zealand National Point of Contacts.

National Point of Contact
New Zealand

New Zealand’s space community has had a long tradition of contributing to pioneering radio astronomy. Early NZ radio astronomers include Elizabeth Alexander, one of the first female radio astronomers who pioneered the first use of the sea-cliff interferometer to study the sun at Leigh and Piha in 1948.

New Zealand’s geographical location and pristine skies have offered astronomers both professional and amateur alike, a unique vantage point on the southern skies. Facilitated by world class infrastructure such as the Mt. John Observatory, this has allowed local astronomers to contribute towards international research.

Despite the lack of a governing space body in New Zealand, the local space industry has recently witnessed a growth in the private sector, led by aerospace companies such as Rocket Lab with their successful Atea sounding rocket platform and their latest Viscous Liquid Monopropellant (VLM) rockets attracting the attention of major players in the international space scene. The success of such companies in defying the odds and establishing the foundations of a burgeoning space industry in New Zealand is a true embodiment of the pioneering, “kiwi ingenuity” spirit. We are constantly looking to grow our network of young aficionados, so join us as we strive to continue to grow this tradition!


Young Space Activities Overview in New Zealand

Though there are limited aerospace degrees offered at the tertiary level, the current space climate dictates a multi-disciplinary approach of which there is no shortage. There are an ever increasing number of opportunities for young professionals and students to take part of our emerging space future.

At the secondary level, organisations such as the New Zealand Rocketry Association offer students first-hand experience in all facets of engineering design. The various astronomical societies across the country also provide students a broader perspective in scientific discovery.

At the tertiary level, there are a number of research institutions with small satellite programs such as Massey University, while the University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury does have partnerships with companies like Rocket Lab in materials and control systems engineering.


Country-Specific Events in 2013

  • RASNZ Conference 2013, Invercargill (24-26 May, 2013): The Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand is holding its annual conference in 2013 in Invercargill. This is a great opportunity for RASNZ members, professional and amateur astronomers and interested members of the public to witness reports and presentations on the latest discoveries and activities in the field. This year’s exciting line-up of speakers even features the former ESA Director for Operation and Infrastructure - Jean-François Kaufeler. 
  • Seventh Trans-Tasman Symposium on Occultations, Invercargill (27-28 May, 2013): TTSO are alternatively held in New Zealand and Australia and attract a wide variety of participants from novices to advanced observers. Their common goal is to advance the observation of all types of occultations. Included will be sessions catering for new observers – from how to select and set up an occultation observing programme to the more involved sessions on data reduction and the latest observing techniques. Reviews of successes from the preceding year and expected highlights of the upcoming year are also featured. 
  • ESA Space Systems Engineer Speaking Tour, Southland (27-31 May, 2013): The talks are aimed at exciting students about space, science and mathematics and will cover all aspects of launching a rocket to space. In particular, former ESA Director for Operation and Infrastructure Mr Jean-François Kaufeler will also speak about the Venus Express space probe and the Rosetta mission to land on a comet next year!


Interesting Web Links for the Young Generation in New Zealand


Square Kilometre Array: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a radio telescope in development in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and will have a total collecting area of approximately one square kilometre. New Zealand is a founding member of the SKA organisation, and is currently represented on the Governing Board.

KiwiSat – A Satellite Project by AMSAT-ZL: KiwiSat is a Massey University CubeSat operation encompassing the design and construction of the satellite, space capable laboratories and satellite command station. The nano-satellite will carry a scientific payload to collect atmospheric data for purposes of carbon balance monitoring. As of June 2012, all systems are now flight ready and on schedule for a mid-2013 launch aboard the DNEPR Space Launch System.

N-Prize Teams: The N-Prize, launched in April 2008 by Cambridge scientist Dr Paul Drear, challenges teams from around the world to launch and track a nano-satellite (hence the ‘N’) with a mass between 9.99 and 19.99g, around 9 orbits, with a budget of under £999.99. Two New Zealand Teams are currently in the running: Team 9.99 and Te Anahere Tere (The Angel Express).

Lunar Numbat: A team of Australian and New Zealand researchers partnering with Google Lunar X-Prize team White Label Space in landing a Linux powered rover on the lunar surface.

Groups, People and Institutions

New Zealand Spaceflight Association: The NZSA is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promote an informed approach to astronautics and space sciences since May 1977. Members enjoy benefits including monthly meetings in Auckland and Wellington, bi-monthly “Liftoff” publication, and various guest lectures to keep abreast of global spaceflight developments.

KiwiSpace Foundation (Formerly NZ Space Foundation): KiwiSpace was founded in 2010 with the objectives of igniting a vibrant New Zealand space industry and education framework. They provide resources for space enthusiasts on the latest NZ spaceflight activities, industry developments and education.

New Zealand Rocketry Association: Since 1991, the NZRA has fostered scientific learning for rocket enthusiasts of all ages through model rocketry. Every February, National Rocket Day is organised in Taupiri to showcase the latest rocket developments from around the country.


University of Otago: AARDDVARK: Antarctic-Arctic Radiation-belt (Dynamic) Deposition - VLF Atmospheric Research Konsortium 
University of Canterbury: MOA: Microlensing Observation in Astrophysics
University of Canterbury Physics and Astronomy Department

Astronomical Societies

Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand: The RASNZ is a Member Body of the Royal Society of New Zealand and aims to promote astronomy and related sciences through its 27 affiliated societies across the country.
Auckland Astronomical Society
Canterbury Astronomical Society (Christchurch)
Skydome Observatory (Dargaville)
Gifford Observatory (Wellington)
Gisborne Astronomical Society
Hamilton Astronomical Society
Hawera Observatory & Astronomical Society
Hawke's Bay Astronomical Society
Northland Astronomical Society (Whangarei)
The Phoenix Astronomical Society (Wellington)
Southland Astronomical Society (Invercargill)
Wellington Astronomical Society


Rakon: Based in Auckland, Rakon is an established global company that designs and manufactures world leading frequency control solutions including satellite subsystems

Rocket Lab: Rocket Lab is an aerospace company focused on rapidly and cost effectively delivering innovative, technologies to the space and defence industries.

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